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SNEAK PEEK: New District 518 Community Education building set to open in February

The space for early childhood education programming may be the most impressive of all, with its brightly-colored indoor playground.

The District 518 Board of Education stands in the entrance of the new Community Education building, waiting for their tour to begin, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
The District 518 Board of Education stands in the entrance of the new Community Education building, waiting for their tour to begin, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — The Community Education building is complete, with District 518 staff set to move in Feb. 6 and 7, unpack Feb. 8-10 and open to the public on Feb. 13.

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“The facility turned out very beautiful,” said Sharon Johnson, director of Community Education, as she led the District 518 Board of Education through the facility for a tour last week.

The school’s newest building, located near the Learning Center on the school’s Crailsheim Road property — not far from the Intermediate School — will house Adult Basic Education, as well as the Nobles County Integration Collaborative and the district’s early childhood education program.

The building has about 40,000 square feet of space, all on one floor.

Inside, it has bright, spacious corridors accented by blue, gold, green and gray in circle motifs that repeat throughout the building, even in the sound boards that cushion the echoes in the main hallways. The windows over the doors have colorful accents, lending the building a lighter feel than its sturdy brick exterior would otherwise suggest.

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The main hallway features the Community Education's circle motifs both as lighting on the ceiling and as flooring that leads to eight early childhood classrooms in the northwest wing, as shown Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
The main hallway features the Community Education's circle motifs both as lighting on the ceiling and as flooring that leads to eight early childhood classrooms in the northwest wing, as shown Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Furniture was still being installed last week, with some rooms featuring tables and chairs and others containing neatly-packed boxes of items waiting to be assembled.

Staff who had to eat at their desks before will now have a break room where they can prepare and eat their food, and there are many areas for storage space throughout the building, not just in classrooms but in their own rooms as well.

The Integration Collaborative, which was once located at the West Learning Center, before moving to the Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s Worthington campus and then returning to West Learning Center, will have room for its seven staff members, plus a classroom and a storage and copying center.

The District 518 Board of Education inspected the indoor play area during a tour of the brand new Community Education building Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
The District 518 Board of Education inspected the indoor play area during a tour of the brand new Community Education building Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

There are two childcare rooms, both with their own restrooms, sinks and emergency exits. Another classroom even features kitchenettes, complete with four stoves, for family and consumer science classes.

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Even the water fountains are an improvement, with places for people to refill water bottles.

The space for early childhood education programming may be the most impressive of all, with its brightly-colored indoor playground. It comes complete with a bridge, a slide, a set of plastic bongos, a climbing wall perfect for little hands, and a springy surface beneath designed to allow still-growing bodies to very literally bounce back after a fall.

And there are eight early childhood classrooms, six designated for District 518’s planned preschool program for 4-year-olds, set to begin in the fall. There will be a licensed teacher and a paraprofessional in each classroom.

The exterior of District 518's Community Education building features a high-visibility sign, as shown Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
The exterior of District 518's Community Education building features a high-visibility sign, as shown Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
District 518 new Community Education building houses a number of different programs and groups, including the Nobles County Integration Collaborative and Adult Basic Education, as shown on a wall in its entryway on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
District 518 new Community Education building houses a number of different programs and groups, including the Nobles County Integration Collaborative and Adult Basic Education, as shown on a wall in its entryway on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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